SCOTUS oral arguments make history

  • Scroll to the bottom for the argument schedule and LIVE links.

SCOTUS Justices from left to right: Breyer, Gorsuch, Thomas, Sotomayor, Chief Justice Roberts, Kagan, Ginsburg, Kavanaugh, Alito.


For the first time in its 230 year history, the Supreme Court will broadcast its oral arguments live on Monday and throughout the first two weeks of May. Though the phone call arguments are very likely to expose a much wider audience to the arguments and intricacies of the Supreme Court, they have also proven to be very controversial.


Activists and lawmakers have pushed unsuccessfully for the court to stream its arguments live to the public since only 50 seats are available in the actual SCOTUS courtroom. Those efforts have traditionally failed, but coronavirus has finally persuaded the justices to make a change. With Covid-19 forcing the court to shut its doors, the justices agreed to a live audio broadcast for 10 arguments, all via teleconference, within the first two weeks of May.


That schedule and legal questions are as follows, with arguments beginning at 10:00 AM EST:


Monday, May 4:

United States Patent and Trademark Office, et al. v. Booking.com B.V

  • Does the addition by an online business of a generic top-level domain (“.com”) to an otherwise generic term can create a protectable trademark, notwithstanding the Lanham Act’s prohibition on generic terms as trademarks?

Tuesday, May 5:

United States Agency for International Development, et al. v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc., et al.

  • Does a requirement that non-governmental organizations institute an explicit anti-prostitution policy in order to receive federal funding violate the First Amendment?

Wednesday, May 6:

Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania, et al. AND Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, et al. v. Pennsylvania, et al.

  • Do the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury had statutory authority under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 to expand the conscience exemption to the contraceptive-coverage mandate?

  • Were the agencies’ decision to forgo notice and opportunity for public comment before issuing the interim final rules rendered the final rules – which were issued after notice and comment – invalid under the Administrative Procedure Act?

William P. Barr, Attorney General, et al. v. American Association of Political Consultants, Inc., et al.

  • Does a provision of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 exempting government debt collection calls from the ban on automated calls violate the First Amendment? If so, is that provision severable from the rest of the Act?

Monday, May 11:

McGirt v. Oklahoma

  • Can a state prosecute an enrolled member of the Creek Tribe for crimes committed within the historical Creek boundaries?

Our Lady of Guadalupe v. Morrissey-Berru AND St. James School v. Biel

  • Do the First Amendment’s religion clauses prevent civil courts from adjudicating employment-discrimination claims brought by an employee against her religious employer, when the employee carried out important religious functions but was not otherwise a “minister”?

Tuesday, May 12:

Donald J. Trump, et al. v. Mazars USA, LLP, et al. AND Donald J. Trump, et al. v. Deutsche Bank AG, et al.

  • Does the Committee on Oversight and Reform, the Committee on Financial Services, and the Intelligence Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives have the constitutional and statutory authority to issue a subpoena to the accountant for President Trump and several of his business entities demanding private financial records belonging to the president?

Donald J. Trump v. Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.

  • Does a grand-jury subpoena served on a custodian of the president’s personal records, demanding production of nearly 10 years’ worth of the president’s financial papers and his tax returns, violate Article II and the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution?

Wednesday, May 13:

Peter B. Chiafalo, Levi Jennet Guerra, and Esther Virginia John v. Washington.

  • Does a state law requiring presidential electors to vote the way state law directs or else be subject to a fine violate the electors’ First Amendment rights?

Colorado Department of State v. Micheal Baca, et al.

  • Does a presidential elector who is prevented by their appointing state from casting an electoral-college ballot that violates state law lack standing to sue their appointing state because they hold no constitutionally protected right to exercise discretion?

  • Does Article II or the 12th Amendment forbid a state from requiring its presidential electors to follow the state’s popular vote when casting their electoral-college ballots?


Watch LIVE or playback at this link by scrolling to the date of arguments:

https://www.c-span.org/supremeCourt/calendar/


Understanding oral arguments: https://www.supremecourt.gov/visiting/visitorsguidetooralargument.aspx


Calendar:

https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_calendars/MonthlyArgumentCalMay2020.pdf

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